Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For,
“Yet a little while,
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
- We have a confidence that we may enter the holy places.
- We have a confidence that we may enter the holy placed because we have forgiveness of our sin.
- We enter the holy places through the blood of Jesus.
- We enter the holy places through a new way
- The way we enter the holy places though a way that is living.
- The way we enter into the holy places has been opened for us through the curtain.
- The way we enter into the holy places has been opened for us through the flesh of Christ
- We have a great priest
- Our priest is over the house of God.
- Because our priest is over the house of God we should draw near to God.
- We should draw near to God with a full assurance of faith.
- We should draw near to God clean from an evil conscience.
- We should draw near to God with our bodies washed with water.
- We are to hold tightly to the confession of our hope.
- We are not to waiver in our confession.
- We are to hold tightly and not waiver in our confession because God is faithful.
- We should think of ways to encourage each other to love and do good works.
- We should meet together as Christian believers.
- Some Christian believers are in the habit of not meeting together.
- The reason to meet together is even greater as we see the Day drawing closer.
- There is no hope for us if we continue to deliberately sin after receiving the knowledge of truth.
- There is no sacrifice that can be made for us if we deliberately sin after having received the knowledge of truth.
- If, after having received the knowledge of truth, we continue to deliberately sin we should expect a fearful judgment.
- If, after having received the knowledge of truth, we continue to deliberately sin we should expect a fury of fire.
- That fire will consume all the adversaries of Christ.
- Disobedience of the Mosaic Law was punished by death without mercy.
- Under the Mosaic Law the death penalty was issued based on evidence of two or three witnesses.
- The punishment will be worse for anyone who has trampled Christ under foot.
- Deliberately continuing to sin after having received the knowledge of truth:
- Tramples Christ under foot
- Profanes the blood of the covenant
- Outrages the Spirit of grace.
- We are sanctified by the blood of the covenant.
- Vengeance belongs to God.
- God will repay for wrong doing.
- God will judge His people.
- Falling into the hand of God is a fearful thing.
- The recipients of the letter had been publicly humiliated and suffered physically after they were enlightened.
- The recipients of the letter know of others who had suffered because of Christ.
- The recipients of the letter had compassion on those in prison.
- The recipients of the letter accepted their property being seized joyfully.
- The recipients of the letter knew they had better possessions what could be seized.
- Since they had suffered already they were not to now lose confidence.
- They had a great reward promised.
- When Christ comes He will come immediately.
- The righteous live by faith.
- If we shrink back God has no pleasure in us.
- The recipients of the letter did not shrink back.
- The recipients of the letter had faith and preserved their souls.
Here the writer states the conclusion of the doctrine he has outlined in the last 3 chapters. Jesus is a priest, our high priest. We have a new covenant. The Temple is no longer needed because sacrifices are no longer needed.
We have access, not just to the throne room of God but, to God Himself because of what Christ has done. We are assured of our salvation because of what Christ has done. Because of Christ’s sacrifice our hearts have been cleaned. He speaks here of being sprinkled clean as a call back to the priests of the old covenant sprinkling the people with the blood of the sacrificed animals.
The feelings that knowledge invokes just make you want to camp out on those verses for a long time. Think about what they say and let it soak in. The writer encourages us to hold on to tight to those truths and not waiver in them. We have received a promise. This is not just any promise this is a promise from the promise keeper of all promise keepers. We can count on the promises made by Christ.
Christ has promised us forgiveness of our sins through His sacrifice. Christ has promised access to the Father through Him. Christ has promised to be our high priest making intersession to the Father on our behalf. Christ has promised us life through the new covenant He provides. All this is good news because the old covenant did none of those things. In fact, the law of the old covenant constantly reminded us of our sin. The old covenant did not provide a means of forgiveness. The old covenant prohibited us from drawing near to God. The old covenant promised death and not life. Praise God for the new covenant. The covenant of grace brought to us through and by Jesus the Christ. Woo Whoo!!! Sorry, I am about to have a shouting spell and Presbyterians aren’t allowed those. 🙂
The blood of the animal scarifies did not have the power to wash away our sins. The animals were dead. But Christ is alive. His blood has the power to cleanse our hearts. Now, not only can we draw near to God, God came to us as Jesus. The divinity of Christ, shielded by His flesh, leads us into the presence of God.
To what is the writer referring when he says, “…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” He is talking about a heart that is void of hypocrisy and deceit. In doing so he points out the true nature of faith. We cannot receive the grace of Christ unless we have an unhesitating conviction. The cleansing of our heart occurs when we receive our pardon and we are deemed pure by God.
The statement “our bodies washed with pure water,” is generally understood to refer to baptism. However I think the context would indicate the author is referring to the ceremonies under the Law. The water refers to the Spirit of God according to what Ezekiel 36:25, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.” This means Christ sanctifies us in body and soul.
We are to think of ways we might encourages each other to love, express that love and do good works. That seems so far from what so many preachers are preaching today. They try to attract people by telling them they are special. They are children of the King. God is calling them to greatness. The reality is we are to servants. We are the help. We are to serve and not be served. Christ came as a servant. How can we assume to be greater than He is?
Next the writer says we are to assemble together. We are all a part of the family of God. As a family we are to encourage each other. We are to help each other. We are to support each other. Remember this is a letter to the Hebrews, that is, the Jews. There was a wall a separation that the Jews had built up between themselves and the rest of the world. Here the writer says that as Christians they were to commune and fellowship with the gentiles because those gentiles were fellow believers as well.
Our churches should be open to all believers. Not only open, but contain members for all ethnicities. There is no problem with evangelistic efforts where we reach out to specific ethnic groups but the church is for all believers. A separate Korean church or Spanish church or Black church is contrary to what the writer says here when he says to, “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some.” However, ethnicity is not the only way we divide ourselves. We separate ages even within the same congregation. The writer says to encourage each other. The old need to encourage the young and the young need to encourage the old. Children need to learn what church is and how to worship. Not shuttled off to a play time with a Bible story we call children’s church. Let us, “not neglecting to meet together.”
The writer reminds us there is no other means of forgiveness than Christ. If we reject Him there is no hope of salvation. There is no other sacrifice that will take away our sin. There is nothing we or anyone else can do. Our hope is in Christ and Christ alone. If we reject the atoning work of Christ we can only expect judgment and a consuming fire. God’s justice is something to fear.
It was a capital offense to violate the Law of Moses how much greater will the punishment be to reject the gospel of Christ. That is a sin which is so much more rebellious. The writer does not talk about particular sins. Rather He talks about the rejection of Christ. Christ promises mercy. Therefore, the punishment will be even worse by rejecting not only mercy but the author of that mercy. Anyone who rejects Christ’s grace tramples over Christ and His sacrifice. The result is an outrage of the Spirit. To have God angry at you is indeed a terrifying thing. The good news is God keeps His promises. But the bad news is God keeps His promises.
The author reminds the Hebrews what they had endured and how well they had begun the Christian life. To begin well and not finish is a shameful thing. The writer reminds them of the battles they have fought. Remembering the past was not a reason to now be lazy or slothful as if we have served our time and now it is someone else’s turn. No! Christ has not enlisted us to serve only for a period of time but to serve continually.
The Hebrews had suffered a lot. They were publicly humiliated. They cared for each other and particularly those who were imprisoned for the name of Christ. They forfeited their property for claiming the name of Jesus. The author also reminds them that it is through God’s favor that they were saved. “After you were enlightened…” is an indication of something that is done to them and not something they did themselves. This should stir them into doing even greater things and not failing to continue to show Christ to the world.
There is no doubt they had feelings and felt the loss of their property and dignity. They surely mourned it. The Hebrews were to continue to endure because they had been promised better things. They could endure because they were promised greater things by one who keeps His promises. The author reminds the Hebrews the suffering was only for a short period of time. Though it may not seem like it when we are in the middle of it.
Like the Hebrews, your sins are washed away by the sacrificial blood of Christ. Jesus is your priest. You have an advocate before the Father. Because of what Jesus has done you may enter God’s presence with confidence.
You have not been promised a pain free or easy life. In fact, you have been promised a trouble filled life. You have been promised trials and tribulations. But you have also been promised a great reward if you preserve and endure. God has promised a reward and that reward is enormous.